Built to Dwell

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. -Colossians 2:6-7

Where is your dwelling place? I’m learning where mine needs to be. A few days ago, while I was in the Word, the phrase “dwell in Him” leapt off the page. He was speaking to me and I wanted to know more, so I looked up the definition of the word dwell, as I often do when I’m reading scripture. (It helps to break verses down and really clarify what He is saying to me). One definition stated that it meant to live in or at a specified place. Another meaning for dwell was: to live as a resident. A resident is someone who lives somewhere permanently or on a long-term basis. Yet, another site defined dwell as meaning: to remain for a time. My take away from this was that He wants me to remain in Him, to live in Him-to live in the Spirit at all times. But how do we do this?

Today I was really struggling with grumbling and acceptance. I continued to complain about my frustrations throughout the day, knowing full well that God doesn’t want me to to do that. I asked Him for help but I continued to wrestle with these shortcomings. Then, of course, as the evening drug on, I felt worse about myself for sinning. I realized I wasn’t really dwelling in Him today. Sure, I read my devotion and my Bible this morning, but for me, this isn’t enough to flourish. I must dwell in Him. I must reside in Him. The decisions I make throughout the day, the anger and impatience I feel, all of it-I must take to Him. This is living in the Spirit. This is dwelling and abiding in Him.

And it’s something we must be doing continually if we want to experience the fullness and richness of life that He has for us-the abundance. Our Father must be our foundation. Like a house, in order to dwell in it, has to first be built. And to start the building process, it needs to have a strong foundation. The foundation is the first thing that must be constructed.

And we build up from the foundation. But we need to do it carefully, taking our time. If we slap it up swiftly and haphazardly, it’s not going to last or be very sturdy. Just like if we rush our time with Him and our time in the Word, we aren’t going to have a very strong relationship with Him. On the other hand, if we don’t get around to building quickly enough and our supplies are laying out in the open for when we decide to finally get to work, we risk the wood molding and rotting-which also won’t last or will make us ill. When we don’t make time to be in scripture regularly and abide in Him constantly, our lives slowly begin to crumble and we become spiritually sick. I once heard someone say-our actions either point us towards our faith or away from it. We need to build a structurally sound dwelling by putting forth the effort to do it right while making it a priority to do it, period. The same goes for building our relationship on Him.

And we need to start first thing upon waking. We must begin each day laying the foundation by deepening our relationship with Him, thanking Him for our blessings, feeding on the Word, listening, and then obeying what He is telling us. Brick by brick or board by board, We need to build our days on Him-no, our moments on Him. Moment by moment needs to be built on the Rock that He is. We fix our eyes and thoughts on Him. And each decision we make throughout the day, each negative feeling that arises in us, each plan we make is like a brick or a board that is built on the Rock to make our dwelling place solid. We take it all to Him and He helps us forge a life grounded in Him where we are fully residing in the Spirit. When we reside in the Spirit, we are unshakeable and not able to be moved.

To be immovable though, we need to be rooted and firmly planted in Him. And in order to grow those roots, we must feed them daily. He is the living water that will quench the thirst of those roots so they can grow deep down.

So let’s construct our lives, brick by brick, moment by moment, stacking every care, every frustration, every struggle, on the One who upholds us. He wants it all, but most importantly, He wants us. Why not dwell on Jesus, while we dwell in Him, and always be overflowing with Thanksgiving, even in the toughest of circumstances? It will only make our relationship that much stronger.

But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts]. -Galations 5:16 (AMP)

In Christ, I am.

I caught myself striving the other day. It’s what I’ve always done and when life kicks up the dust, I’m right there taking it in the face and fighting back in a futile attempt to prove to myself that I’m enough. But this is a form of self-will and what I need to do instead, is remind myself of who I am in Christ and that His yoke is lighter. I mentioned in a previous post that for years, I found my worth in my accomplishments-until one day, my achievements failed me. I no longer had my health, so none of it mattered anymore. I’ve known that I need to find my identity in Christ, but knowing and actually believing who I am in Him are two totally different ball games, so I’m working on this and He is working on me. Well, who are we in Christ, anyway?

If you are a believer, you are CHOSEN. CHOSEN ya’ll! This means that we were hand picked by our Father to be His followers. In Jeremiah 1:5, He says “before you were born you were set apart”. Before we were born, we were His. And His Word tells us in Deuteronomy 14:2, “for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” Treasured means highly valued and precious. That is who we are to our Father. We belong to Him and we were set apart for His purpose. He has a plan for us and it’s big. And this plan includes being the salt and light of the earth.

In Matthew 5:14, He says that we are “the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” We were meant to shine for Him-to bring light and hope to others in need and through us, He will be glorified. This is another massive undertaking that He granted us. We are a vessel that He fills and uses to bless others. What a magnificent responsibility He has endowed us with! We must remain connected to Him though, in order to fulfill His purpose for our lives.

Jesus says, in John 15:5, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches.” This means that we are an extension of Him, our God Almighty. We are a part of Him and we were made to bear fruit and serve Him with it. As we continue to seek Him, He will keep sprouting more fruit to do His will, which is good and perfect. Our Father made us in His image, His likeness. He is a creative God and we are a marvelous work.

Ephesians 2:10, says that He made us a masterpiece. A MASTERPIECE! The Oxford dictionary defines masterpiece as-a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship. We aren’t an amateur’s sculpted lump of clay that sits on a basement shelf. No. We were created by the God of the universe Himself, and we are His own master work to be used for good works that He entrusted us with, because we are that loved and important to Him.

We were worth dying for! How loved we are. Let that sink in. Let that really sink in. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He gave His own life because He loved us that much and wanted us to live. Nails were driven into His hands and feet. He died an agonizing death, for you and me-because He loves us beyond what we can fathom! This wasn’t a quick shot to the head and bam! It’s over. He suffered unimaginably during this prolonged death, and that’s not it. He was humiliated during the process. So when we struggle with our worth, let’s remind ourselves of all that He sacrificed for us.

Now let’s talk about those times when we get still get down on ourselves and beat ourselves up because we don’t think we measure up. Who’s really doing the measuring here, Him or you? If we get out of the way and make it our goal to live and love for Him, He will fill us with what we need. And we will feel more positive about ourselves because we are doing what we were created to do and who we were meant to be in the first place. We can’t forget WHOSE we are and that we were made for a purpose-to further His Kingdom. This is huge! This isn’t just a side job, and this is far more important than any earthly career. This is a soul-saving, life-restoring duty. This is ginormous! And He CHOSE us to do it. If you are glorifying Him in everything you do, how can you not feel good about yourself?

So let us make it our mission to become more Christlike, serving Him in all ways, always. Let us remind ourselves that we are not our accomplishments because our accomplishments can’t even begin to compete with who He wants us to be. And let us not lose sight of the fact that we are not of this world, but instead, He created us to help change and light up the world. It’s easy to sometimes let the thought of-I’m not enough, slip in, but His Word tells us differently. The Truth is, my friend, you and I are more than enough in His eyes.